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Chicago GSB Announces Creative New Way For Applicants to Present Themselves


To enable prospective full-time MBA students to present a more complete picture of their candidacy, applicants to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business will now submit up to four slides about themselves with their application, the school announced today.

In announcing the new requirement the school noted that prospective students are asked to supply facts about themselves throughout the application, but the slides will allow applicants to be creative and tell the admissions committee about themselves using a medium that parallels the communication tools used for professional and social networking.

“This is a departure from the text-only application that we used in the past because under the old format we were unable to capture important information showing how prospective students define themselves,” said Stacey Kole, deputy dean at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

The slides may contain pictures, graphs, text, or anything else that prospective students want to include, according to the school.

The requirement applies to students seeking to start the MBA program in September 2008. Applicants must still submit two traditional essays as part of the application process in addition to a maximum of four slides.

“There is no right or wrong way to satisfy the new requirement,” said Rosemaria Martinelli, associate dean for student recruitment and admissions for the school’s full-time MBA program. “The important thing is that applicants can express themselves in ways they could not before in essay form,” she said.

In today’s business environment, communication is fast and concise, Martinelli said. “Whether it be e-mail, PowerPoint, or a two-minute elevator speech, successful businesspeople need to learn how to express their full ideas in very restrictive formats. We feel the new application requirement represents this very common challenge,” she said. “But instead of using this tool to sell a product or request new business, applicants are using it to present themselves.”

In addition to the slides, applicants for next year’s entering class must also answer two essay questions. The first essay, limited to 1,500 words, is: “Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? What are your personal and professional goals and the role an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business plays in your plans to reach these goals?”

The second essay, limited to 500 words, asks: “If you could step into someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be and why?” “Feedback from our current students shows that one of the unique things about our MBA program is that it challenges people to think in different ways and to be prepared for the unexpected,” Martinelli said. “We keep that in mind as we select our essay questions. The new requirement for slides just takes that to another level.”

The slides submitted with the application will not be judged on technical ability but rather the self-expression that is revealed, the school said. “Slides allow people to stretch beyond just the written word and one inch margins into a different space where an applicant can be much more expressive,” Martinelli said.

“The slides will be printed and placed in each applicant’s file for review, which means all the bells and whistles such as Flash, video clips, embedded music and hyperlinks won’t be considered in the evaluation process,” she said. “This clearly levels the playing field for everyone.”

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the leading business schools in the world. The school’s faculty includes many renowned scholars and its graduates include many business leaders across the U.S. and worldwide.

It is consistently ranked as one of the top ten business schools in the world and usually as one of the top five. The Chicago Approach to Management Education is distinguished by how it leverages fundamental knowledge, its rigor, and its practical application to business challenges.

Chicago GSB offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, an executive MBA program, a Ph.D. program, open enrollment executive education and custom corporate education.